Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Choice, Conviction, and Commitment

What makes humans different from other animals? Both conservative and liberals will agree that choice is a value to/for humans. Animals do not make choices, do they? They are herded, trained, modified, by humans (the more intelligent animal) or act instinctively for survival.

Although humans do act to survive, we can use our reason, and our choice to control ourselves as to the means of meeting the need to survive and flourish. We do not have to kill another human because we need to survive. Self-control is what civilizes man. It is his conviction about another's right to existence that limits his "right to life" at all costs. So, besides choice, there are convictions that are important values to society or civilization.

Convictions are about cultural reference points. American culture is defined by the Constitution. Fortunately, in the West we value the individual and uphold his right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our commitment to such values cause us to value another's right to liberty, as well. Liberty of conscience is an important value for the Founders, as it protected diverse convictions.

Today on a news program, it was argued that a Supreme Court Justice should believe in "rights" as given by a Creator, so that the Constitution is interpreted as an "originalist". But a Supreme Court Judge argued that one should not have these "religious qualifications/tests for a Supreme Court Justice, or for any office, for that matter. I agree with her, because a justice should be blind to any personal opinion or prejuidice in regards to the Constitution and the case brought before the Court. If a justice was too ideological, whether conservative or liberal, then it might inhibit justice because it would limit the judge's ability to hear without prejuidice or bias concerning the issue or the person involved. All citizens, no matter if they believe in a Creator or not, are to be given the right to Representation before the law!

Americans value the right to dissent and resist a government that does not respect liberty. And liberty is  about differences of value in choice, conviction and commitment.

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